JBG Grant

Drew Model Receives Grant for Second Outdoor Classroom

Drew Model Elementary School PTA will soon begin overseeing construction on its second outdoor classroom after receiving a $15,000
grant from The JBG Companies (JBG). The grant will fund the transformation of the school’s first-floor courtyard into an art-themed garden and classroom. The space was designed by Nancy Striniste of EarlySpace and will feature a small amphitheater for performing plays and poetry readings, outdoor looms and easels, project tables, a textile garden with cotton and dye plants, trees and shrubs, and a wash-up sink and plenty of storage for art materials. The Drew community wanted an arts-focused outdoor space because the school partners with the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts’ Changing Education through the Arts (CETA) program, which trains faculty members to integrate the arts into their teaching.

“JBG has been fortunate to work in Arlington for many years and we are thrilled to help Drew advance this project by being a good neighbor and corporate citizen. As a developer, we know the excitement of realizing a long desired project that improves the built environment and benefits the community,” said Andy VanHorn, a principal at JBG.

The PTA’s Outdoor Learning Project is leading the effort to create the Art Garden, the second outdoor classroom at Drew. The Drew Reading Garden in the school’s second floor courtyard has been widely used by students since its completion last spring. The PTA formed the Outdoor Learning Project to enable students to spend more time outside while still meeting curriculum requirements. Research has demonstrated that children who have regular contact with the outdoors and nature focus better when inside and perform better on standardized tests. Spending time in nature decreases anxiety, improves the ability to learn new tasks, and enhances creative reasoning.

“Drew is thrilled to be the recipient of this grant from JBG so that we can break ground on our art garden. The children and teachers at Drew are so excited to see this project develop and can’t wait to use it,” enthused Drew Principal Darryl Evans.

PTA President Evan Thomas added, “Many of our students suffer from what journalist Richard Louv termed ‘nature deficit disorder,’ and will greatly benefit from more time outside. We are grateful to JBG for providing the funding that will allow the Art Garden to become a reality.”

About The JBG Companies

Headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, The JBG Companies is a private real estate investment firm that develops, owns and manages office, residential, hotel and retail properties. The company has more than $10 billion in assets under management and development in the Washington, DC area. Since 1960, JBG has been active in the areas where it invests, striving to positively impact local communities. For more information, please visit www.JBG.com or find us on Twitter @TheJBGCompanies and Facebook facebook.com/TheJBGCompanies.